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Home > Politics

Gerald Kaufman: Prize Twat

What has happened to Gerald Kaufman? Did he wake up one morning and think: "it's a lovely day - the sun is shining, the birds are singing - it's high time I turned into a moron"?

Charlie Skelton

22 July 2003

Kaufman & Mandelson have been blaming the BBC for the death of Dr Kelly. An absolutely preposterous claim - after all, it was Pam Teare of the MoD who first leaked his name to the media, and Andrew Mackinlay MP who shouted at him - etc. etc. etc. (John Humphrys called the idea of blaming the BBC "bizarre").

Kaufman, quoted in The Observer, said:

"I do not see how a board of governors that responds in the way it did to this dossier issue can really be expected to carry out the function of making the BBC accountable. On 17 out of 34 days, the dossier was either the first or the second story on the Today programme, and that is obsessional."


It's the fucking news, you twat. What are we meant to do? Button our lips and submit to a benign dictatorship? Christ Almighty, what a dickhead.

And Mandelson said:

"It was the BBC's obsession with him [Campbell] that led more than anything to the breakdown in relations between the Government and Britain's principal public service broadcaster, with the result we have seen."

Two sad outsiders trying to weedle back into favour with New Labour. Pitiful really.

However, it does seem, thank God, that the Kelly-death spotlight is swinging back towards the government, in spite of their frantic attempts to bat it towards the BBC. This was a typical swipe from Kaufman:

"None of it would have followed, right through the inquiry, the role of number 10, the role of the MoD and, I am very sorry to say, the death of Dr Kelly. None of this would have happened if it had not been for the BBC story."

This is such an empty statement. Yes - in one sense - if the piece of reporting conducted by Gilligan and the BBC had never been done, if they hadn't been doing their job, then none of this would have happened. But, for Christ's sake, they refused to name their source. And anyway:

Dr Kelly is understood to have been given guarantees from the MoD that his identity would remain secret.

The big question is this: where did the grubby decision to name Kelly come from? How high up the chain of fools did it climb? Pretty damned high, it would seem. This, from the FT:

Geoff Hoon, Britain's defence minister, personally authorised the media strategy that led to the unmasking of the bioweapons expert...


Downing Street overruled senior Ministry of Defence officials who wanted to protect the identity of David Kelly and prevent him appearing before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, according to Whitehall sources... Downing Street conceded yesterday that it had been consulted by the MoD over the handling of the Kelly affair.

So - is it Blair or Campbell? Or both?

Tony Blair sounds flustered:

"I did not authorise the leaking of the name of David Kelly... Once the name is out there, that's a completely different matter."

He's trying to hair-split his way out of a tight jam. God, I hope he fails. And the grubbier he looks, the stupider Mandelson and Kaufman appear for their lapdog behaviour over the weekend.

Roy Hattersley, writing in today's Guardian on the subject of the hunting bill, says:

"Mr Kaufman is a loyalist. What is more, he is a loyalist with nothing to gain from loyalty."

Well, I'm very sorry, but I simply cannot believe it was purest 'loyalty' that led to Kaufman's outburst against the BBC. It's such an absurd position to adopt, and Kaufman is no idiot.

Lord Kaufman of Leeds? Catchy.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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